Meet Guy Grossi
Leading Australian chef, presenter and media personality Guy Grossi has a passion for life, food and his hometown of Melbourne. With a particular love of Italian cooking, he keeps himself busy as owner and head chef of Grossi Florentino, Mirka at Tolarno Hotel, Grossi Trattoria and Merchant Osteria Veneta. Discover his Melbourne here.
How has Melbourne influenced your food philosophy?
Food naturally takes on the personality of its region, whether it is the climate, resources or customs of the people it nourishes. These are all intertwined and Melbourne, as a city, influences my food. I have a heritage and culture I draw from which already partners well with Melbourne. I then like to create food that suits our seasons, festivals, sophisticated culture and well-travelled residents and visitors.
How would you describe Melbourne’s culinary scene?
Melbourne’s culinary scene is so varied, which is one of the aspects that makes it so great. The choice is about country of origin, style of delivery, formal or informal. The most outstanding thing about the dining scene in Melbourne is the high quality that is out there. It doesn’t matter if your experience is casual and quick or more long lasting. The quality exists and the standards are high at every offer.
What do you think it is about Melbourne that appeals to international chefs?
In my opinion, it is the fact that our culture embraces food for all the right reasons. We have a love affair with produce and believe in it as a people which makes food a way of life in Melbourne. Socialising with food is almost a ritual for Melburnians. Visitors and international chefs are drawn to that level of commitment and enjoy showing their best to such a receptive and knowledgeable audience.
What are your favourite bars and dining venues in Melbourne, and why?
At the moment I’m enjoying the great rustic restaurants of the city. Having just come back from Italy, the simple rustic food there really appeals to my pallet. One of my new finds is just around the corner from Florentino called The Aylesbury. It’s all about tapas and its rustic Spanish flavors are simple and elegant. What’s even better is you can eat some of this beautiful simple food on their fifth-floor rooftop bar. It’s open late which is perfect for me. After work I can enjoy a drink and a nibble while soaking in Melbourne’s ‘bella vista’.
If I’m in the mood for Japanese, Ocha Kew is an absolute no brainer. It’s around the corner from home and has got some great vibrant flavours which are fresh and light. When you team that with warm service it makes it a fantastic place to go (if you can get a table).
What has been you favourite discovery in Melbourne recently?
Call it more of a re-discovery. It was a few months ago on a lovely Sunday walk down Carlton way that I rediscovered Le Parisienne on Lygon St which offers artisan-made small goods, pates, terrines, freshly baked bread and cheeky service with a smile. I could easily lose myself in a place like that for hours.
What impact has Italian food and culture had on Melbourne?
One could say that the Italians pioneered much of the food scene in Melbourne. There was certainly a rise in continental dining and experiences with the migrant move of the 60s of which the Italians were a large part of. New ingredients were introduced, grown by migrants to create a more familiar environment for themselves. It wasn’t long before the community at large was experiencing new things and embracing them. Now we thrive on new things and even seek them out.